Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees  (Read 19361 times)

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Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2016, 07:13:38 AM »
This is a rich chapter indeed, and is present truth for the Laodicean condition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at this present time. We need to realize that while the guilt of the Jews was indeed great in rejecting Christ, our guilt and sin is the greater as we have the accumulated light that God has made accessible to us in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. What more can Christ do for us if we resist His infinite love and the wooing of His Holy Spirit? Yet I rejoice to know that as it was in the days of Christ, there were those who did truly repent as they responded to the gems of truth found in Christ's teaching! They accepted the gospel and were converted. Let us learn the lessons here for us today:

   Divine pity marked the countenance of the Son of God as He cast one lingering look upon the temple and then upon His hearers. In a voice choked by deep anguish of heart and bitter tears He exclaimed, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" This is the separation struggle. In the lamentation of Christ the very heart of God is pouring itself forth. It is the mysterious farewell of the long-suffering love of the Deity. 
     Pharisees and Sadducees were alike silenced. Jesus summoned His disciples, and prepared to leave the temple, not as one defeated and forced from the presence of his adversaries, but as one whose work was accomplished. He retired a victor from the contest. 
     The gems of truth that fell from Christ's lips on that eventful day were treasured in many hearts. For them new thoughts started into life, new aspirations were awakened, and a new history began. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, these persons came to the front, and fulfilled their divine commission with a wisdom and zeal corresponding to the greatness of the work. They bore a message that appealed to the hearts of men, weakening the old superstitions that had long dwarfed the lives of thousands. Before their testimony human theories and philosophies became as idle fables. Mighty were the results flowing from the words of the Saviour to that wondering, awestruck crowd in the temple at Jerusalem. 


There can be mighty results today in our ministry if we will let Christ speak through us by His Spirit. There is need for strong rebuke, but always in love. There is need for reproof, guidance, an counsel. There is need to speak plainly, that those who have trusted to the Sabbath School teachers, leaders, pastors, teachers, and men and women of influence, the authors in our midst, will not let these people become the source and ground of the truth, but only the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Because there has been a decrease in spirituality (as it was in the time of the Jews) it was much easier for most of the common people to let the intellectually "wise" do the theological thinking for them. This was the great danger. The "wise" were fools in that they fought against Christ and were planning His murder. In our day, the gospel of Christ, the very foundation upon which the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has been in many instances confused to sand (sand is a bunch of small stones, but it is not the ROCK Christ Jesus). It is not enough to profess that one believes in Christ--if the life and character contradict and counteract what Christ gives us in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, if all of the fruits of the Spirit are not seen in the life without one missing, then how can we rest falsely upon a supposed hope and nothing more? It is always dangerous to trust to man for light rather than being a diligent student oneself. We need a revival and a reformation, and it will come as the straight testimony is given, even as Jesus speaks to us today:

Revelation 3:14-22
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2016, 07:16:18 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  Do we want to hear His Words?

Today's reading is important for those who live just before the second coming of Christ. Satan's deceptions are as great or greater than they have ever been. Israel is given to us whom the ends of the world have come upon as an example. Woes on the Pharisees opens with such an example that we need to learn from.

The people "marveled that the rulers would not believe on Jesus, when His teachings were so plain and simple. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed.
     In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.


So it is today. There are many faithful pastors, but there are many who are leading the people away from the truth. There are multiple gospels being printed on our presses, broadcast over the airwaves, and preached from our pulpits. And, the leadership says nothing about those doing it are accursed. Who in the church does not know there are opposing "gospels" being presented to the church? Very few. Why no voice of reproof?

Listen to the inspired statement again: "His teachings were so plain and simple." This is what our people need today, but they do not receive it. The gospel truth is so simple a child may understand. It is the grace of God received that transforms a sinner into a saint. Yes, even a "baby Christian" is a saint. His motives are pure and holy. But, amid the heresies being taught, most of the time he has not yet learned he is evil by nature and must cling to Christ in order to remain a saint.

But, again, notice the teaching of Christ was plain and simple. It was not a loud and eloquent oratory. Just soft or stern truth coming from a heart full of grace. He was not looking to convince those who wanted to argue. He was looking for those seeking the truth. "His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught."  He did not leave the leaders unwarned of their corrupt status before God.

As the end of the nation approached, Jesus' Words became more pointed in regards to the false teachers, and the influence they had on the people. They were being misled by those whom they trusted. "Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed."

So it is today. Those who have been born and reared in the church often suffer in the same manner. If they have not experienced true conversion, they have not understood truth for themselves, but have relied upon what has been presented to them by the pastors. This is called "tradition", not truth. While the faithful pastors present truth, even it if not understood to be truth, will be of little value to those who seek not to understand it. Relying upon others for our truth will leave us in an unconverted state. Jesus calls this Laodicea, which is a lost condition. But, it is not hopeless. To the contrary, Jesus tells what we must do in order to be converted in the Laodicean message shared by Pastor Sean in his last post.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2017, 09:27:36 AM »
The Saviour called His disciples to Him, and bade them mark the widow's poverty. Then His words of commendation fell upon her ear: "Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all." Tears of joy filled her eyes as she felt that her act was understood and appreciated. Many would have advised her to keep her pittance for her own use; given into the hands of the well-fed priests, it would be lost sight of among the many costly gifts brought to the treasury. But Jesus understood her motive. She believed the service of the temple to be of God's appointment, and she was anxious to do her utmost to sustain it. She did what she could, and her act was to be a monument to her memory through all time, and her joy in eternity. Her heart went with her gift; its value was estimated, not by the worth of the coin, but by the love to God and the interest in His work that had prompted the deed.
     Jesus said of the poor widow, She "hath cast in more than they all." The rich had bestowed from their abundance, many of them to be seen and honored by men. Their large donations had deprived them of no comfort, or even luxury; they had required no sacrifice, and could not be compared in value with the widow's mite.


We are told that God loves a cheerful giver and here is wonderful example. A good enough example that Christ took the time to point her and her deed of love out. May we also have a such an attitude of this widow. If this were the case the Lord's cause would never suffer a shortage.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2017, 10:34:18 AM »
Amen, Jim. I really liked the truth being pointed out in this lesson. It is the heart that God looks upon. He wants our hearts, not our money. He owns all the gold, silver, and the cattle on a thousand hills. He does not need our money, He wants the heart, all of it. We cannot buy salvation, we must be transformed in heart and life. Then, we will give our very best to Jesus, just as did the widow in her poverty. Too often people judge by outward actions, not by what is in the heart. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are the fruits revealed when the heart is given fully to Christ.

Woes were coming upon the Pharisees. Why? Unlike the poor widow, they were not obedient from the heart. They were "whited sepulchers."

   "The scribes and the Pharisees," He said, "sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." The scribes and Pharisees claimed to be invested with divine authority similar to that of Moses. They assumed to take his place as expounders of the law and judges of the people. As such they claimed from the people the utmost deference  and obedience. Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example. They themselves did not practice their own teaching.


Today, we are members in a Laodicean church, as it was when Jesus came to His own and His own knew Him not. The people had been and are mistaught. Jesus had a hard time undoing the false teachings. Even His disciples after 3 1/2 years could not understand the Lamb had to die in order for them to be saved. Such a deception! So it is today.

     The interest of the people in Christ and His work had steadily increased. They were charmed with His teaching, but they were also greatly perplexed. They had respected the priests and rabbis for their intelligence and apparent piety. In all religious matters they had ever yielded implicit obedience to their authority. Yet they now saw these men trying to cast discredit upon Jesus, a teacher whose virtue and knowledge shone forth the brighter from every assault. They looked upon the lowering countenances of the priests and elders, and there saw discomfiture and confusion. They marveled that the rulers would not believe on Jesus, when His teachings were so plain and simple. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed.
     In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2017, 01:03:40 PM »
Amen, Jim and Richard!

It could be said to the scribes and Pharisees, "Woe to you who live in sin and yet proclaim righteousness"--for such is a Laodicean condition.

  "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," said Jesus; "for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." By perverting the Scriptures, the priests and lawyers blinded the minds of those who would otherwise have received a knowledge of Christ's kingdom, and that inward, divine life which is essential to true holiness.

So Christ speaks today to His church--to those who are in sin, and not surrendered entirely to have the guilt and blindness removed by the impartation of the Holy Spirit:

Revelation 3:14-22
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2017, 05:17:40 AM »
The interest of the people in Christ and His work had steadily increased. They were charmed with His teaching, but they were also greatly perplexed. They had respected the priests and rabbis for their intelligence and apparent piety. In all religious matters they had ever yielded implicit obedience to their authority. Yet they now saw these men trying to cast discredit upon Jesus, a teacher whose virtue and knowledge shone forth the brighter from every assault. They looked upon the lowering countenances of the priests and elders, and there saw discomfiture and confusion. They marveled that the rulers would not believe on Jesus, when His teachings were so plain and simple. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed.

This small paragraph shows the danger of "following" a certain teacher, evangelist, pastor etc..  Some become "popular" and are looked up to by thousands. But the danger is what if that person slips? What if they preach a different gospel? This situation reminds me of another religious system that says (use to say) that only priests can read and interpret the Bible. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed. Let's not let our love for a particular person over shadow our responsibility to study for ourselves.


Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2017, 06:21:50 AM »
Amen Jim.  What an important truth! Jesus sends teachers, but they point the people to Jesus and His Word. Paul wrote much of the New Testament, but He exalted Christ, not himself. Jesus at the end, made a pointed effort to reveal the error of the people in trusting in false leaders. It is not position in the church that attracts the listener, but character.

     It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour's commendation. 


In the judgment, the motives for each act will be revealed. Jesus looks upon the heart. He knows the motive. If the heart is not pure, then the motives will be selfish. If the heart is fully given to God, then the the motives will be pure and holy. This we see in the offering of the widow who gave all she had, even though it was so very small.  Jesus used this example to reprove the false leaders whose hearts were not pure and holy.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2017, 06:49:03 AM »
Amen, Jim and Richard! I was blessed by both of your posts and this chapter reveals that a crossroads came in the experience of those hearing His words in the temple for the last time.

     The gems of truth that fell from Christ's lips on that eventful day were treasured in many hearts. For them new thoughts started into life, new aspirations were awakened, and a new history began. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, these persons came to the front, and fulfilled their divine commission with a wisdom and zeal corresponding to the greatness of the work. They bore a message that appealed to the hearts of men, weakening the old superstitions that had long dwarfed the lives of thousands. Before their testimony human theories and philosophies became as idle fables. Mighty were the results flowing from the words of the Saviour to that wondering, awestruck crowd in the temple at Jerusalem. 
     But Israel as a nation had divorced herself from God. The natural branches of the olive tree were broken off. Looking for the last time upon the interior of the temple, Jesus said with mournful pathos, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Hitherto He had called the temple His Father's house; but now, as the Son of God should pass out from those walls, God's presence would be withdrawn forever from the temple built to His glory. Henceforth its ceremonies would be meaningless, its services a mockery.   


The very same words of Christ led some to experience genuine repentance and reformation of life; for others, they were rejected and sealed the doom of Israel as a nation, whom God could not entrust with His light of salvation because it had been so perverted as to lead the people to seek to murder His only Son. So sad! Yet we see mercy in God's message--mercy that those who had so long trusted to a corrupt priesthood would see clearly to what lengths envy and malice will lead her slaves. In beholding the loveliness of Jesus, the people saw One who walked, taught, and healed with the perfect freedom of the Father's divine love; in beholding the angry air and confusion of the professed leaders and teachers, they saw more clearly the character of Satan. It is for this very reason that Satan is still alive--that all may come to CLEARLY see character for what it is, and choose by their day-by-day experience to either yield to Christ entirely or to stifle conviction and develop the attributes of Satan. There is lesson and warning here for us today--we cannot save ourselves from hypocrisy and unbelief if we are trapped in such a situation--we must come to Christ just as we are, and receive His infinite love to melt the soul, that we may receive the gift of repentance and come to hate the sins that have shut out Jesus. Let us pray for all around us to have a genuine, true conversion to the truth as it is in Jesus, that those whom Christ paid an infinite price for will not be lost.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2017, 06:47:20 AM »
I love Jesus and His transforming word! Let Him live in you today by a full heart surrender!!

"As the word of God is meditated upon and practiced, the whole man will be ennobled. In righteous and merciful dealing, the hands will reveal, as a signet, the principles of Godís law. They will be kept clean from bribes, and from all that is corrupt and deceptive. They will be active in works of love and compassion. The eyes, directed toward a noble purpose, will be clear and true. The expressive countenance, the speaking eye, will testify to the blameless character of him who loves and honors the word of God." {The Desire of Ages, page 612, paragraph 3}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2017, 08:40:06 AM »
Amen! If we will give our heart fully to Christ, He will transform our character and make us kind and gentle and firm.

Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2017, 05:38:58 AM »
Jesus is calling us to Himself--to a full-heart surrender so we can be saved from the sins that would destroy us. He came to save the sinner, but when one feels no need, what can He do? How Christ's heart longs to impart His healing grace to restore in us His image. But He will not force His way. He invites us to come and behold Him in His loveliness so we can be changed in character. But His heart breaks over those who refuse to come. We see this in His last words spoken in the temple, which we can see in Matthew 23. I reflect on these thoughts:

"Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession." {The Desire of Ages, page 619, paragraph 5} 
     "Divine pity marked the countenance of the Son of God as He cast one lingering look upon the temple and then upon His hearers. In a voice choked by deep anguish of heart and bitter tears He exclaimed, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!' This is the separation struggle. In the lamentation of Christ the very heart of God is pouring itself forth. It is the mysterious farewell of the long-suffering love of the Deity." {The Desire of Ages, page 620, paragraph 1}

Let us not grieve Jesus by remaining away from Him. Let us come to Him, sinful as we are, and let Him cleanse the heart and renew the mind so He can live in us by His Spirit. The evidence that we truly do allow Him into our hearts to abide there is that He fills us with all of the fruits of His Spirit and empowers us to lovingly walk in all the light of God's law that we know. Such an experience will prepare us for His soon return in glory!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2017, 05:45:30 AM »
Let us not grieve Jesus by remaining away from Him. Let us come to Him, sinful as we are, and let Him cleanse the heart and renew the mind so He can live in us by His Spirit.

Amen pastor Sean! Especially in the light that Christ desires this to happen more than we do. He longs for reconciliation to take place so that He may have a more direct and intimate relationship with each one of us. Why would we resist such a one who is altogether lovely?

In the parables which Christ had spoken, it was His purpose both to warn the rulers and to instruct the people who were willing to be taught. But there was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.

To me this exposes a weakness in my own character. How? Because Christ demonstrates that there are indeed times to speak sternly and directly. Sometimes there isn't time and some things need to be dealt with directly in an up front manner. This not something I enjoy doing. I realize it needs to be done only when the Spirit leads since we are also told that Christ most of the time utilized tact when dealing with people. There is also another lesson I think that can be learned from this. That is, yes, there are times that we are to look for fruit in other people or the lack thereof. Over and over again I hear that we are not suppose to "judge" people and this is true to a point. But we are also counseled to judge with righteous judgment. Paul tells us not to lay hands suddenly on no man. In doing so don't we make a judgment about the man or woman? When people are baptized are we not to determine whether or not they are truly converted when they desire membership into the church?
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2017, 07:12:23 AM »
Amen Jim. If it were not for the teachings of man we would not be so deceived as to what it means to judge righteous judgement. If we were truly converted, and looked to scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy, instead of the traditions of the church, we would understand our responsibilities and be given Grace to do them.

It is the motive that is so important. When we abide in Christ and he in us, then our motives are pure and holy. The church remains in a Laodicean condition, which means that many in the church are not converted. It is not a pleasant thing to reprove people, but it is a duty. When we reprove, we are to do it with the right motive and the right spirit. Unless we are abidng in Christ and He in us, we do not have the right motive nor the right spirit. In the end it comes down to our personal relationship with Jesus. We need him all of the time in order to do any good thing. Such a simple truth.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2018, 05:40:32 AM »
The interest of the people in Christ and His work had steadily increased. They were charmed with His teaching, but they were also greatly perplexed. They had respected the priests and rabbis for their intelligence and apparent piety. In all religious matters they had ever yielded implicit obedience to their authority. Yet they now saw these men trying to cast discredit upon Jesus, a teacher whose virtue and knowledge shone forth the brighter from every assault. They looked upon the lowering countenances of the priests and elders, and there saw discomfiture and confusion. They marveled that the rulers would not believe on Jesus, when His teachings were so plain and simple. They themselves knew not what course to take. With eager anxiety they watched the movements of those whose counsel they had always followed.

I had not seen this before and this may not be an exact parallel but I believe here is the reason that sometimes a "judas" is left in a leadership position or that it might not best to speak out against a well known and well "followed" popular evangelist. When people rely on a person or persons for guidance and if they are suddenly "ousted" or discredited it might cause more harm than good. There is a time and place for everything and while we don't want to be dumb dogs that don't bark there are times where it's best to just be like Christ and simply live and speak the truth and let the contrast been by those who are watching. The false shepherds will have their reward.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2018, 05:52:45 AM »
Amen, Jim. There are indeed times when we need to be patient and hold our tongue. But, today's reading is telling us something the opposite. There are times when we must speak up against an apostate ministry who have led the people astray. Woes are being cast upon the Pharisees because they have been blind guides. In our reading we see two sides in the battle against good and evil. We see Jesus commending the widow who gave her two mites to an apostate priesthood, and we see the Savior attempting to reveal to the people their error in trusting blind guides, "whited sepulchers." We see Christ in the law, who is both merciful and just. The "anointed of the Lord," trusted leaders of the people were being revealed for what they really were, false shepherds.

     With hand uplifted to heaven, and a divine light enshrouding His person, Christ spoke as a judge to those before Him. His voice, that had so often been heard in gentleness and entreaty, was now heard in rebuke and condemnation. The listeners shuddered. Never was the impression made by His words and His look to be effaced.
     Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession. 


Out of love for the truth and love for humanity, Jesus could not keep silent about the character of the rulers in Israel. He could not allow the people to continue to place their trust in a corrupt ministry. The time had come for the truth to be spoken.

     There was need to speak yet more plainly. Through their reverence for tradition and their blind faith in a corrupt priesthood, the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed.

So it is today. The time has come that the truth must be spoken, that our people might discern the truth as to who it is that loves God's supremely and who it is that are blind guides having a profession of faith, but do not follow the light given by the prophets. There are faithful ministers and there are those who reject the abundant light so graciously given to the world, entrusted to His last day church. Is it possible to discern between the two? Many have been instructed they cannot. but Jesus taught that we might known them by their fruits. All who love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves reveal they are abiding in Christ and He in them. For all of the fruits of the Spirit are seen in the lives of those who are fully surrendered to Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit.

In our dealings with those who teach error and who do not reveal the fruits of the Spirit, let us remember that many of the priests were converted after the cross. And, the great persecutor of the church became the one who wrote most of the New Testament. It was the grace of God manifested through Stephen and others being persecuted by Saul that taught him of God's grace and brought him to the foot of the cross. Let him who is called to reprove the sins of leaders in God's church do likewise. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2018, 08:30:15 AM »
Jim and Richard I too was impressed by the same thoughts you shared. We are living in times very similar to what this chapter is talking about. The outward appearance may be different but hearts have not changed. That is unless we have met Jesus and fallen in love with Him so that our lives reflect His and have all the fruit of the Spirit as is often referred to here.

The question was asked recently in a Sabbath School class; "Does a Christian have to have all the fruits at the same time?" All but one person said "no". They believed that it was the ideal but that it happened over time as one is added to another. These were people that held an office of some type in the church. So today we too have been fed the wrong gospel and because we don't search for ourselves are led astray.

The following quote spoke plainly to me in today's reading.....

"It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour's commendation."

We each have the same choice to make as did those of the Jewish nation. Accept or reject the Son of God. God's word and the SOP have spelled out in great detail what that involves. No one will be able to excuse themselves by pleading ignorance.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2018, 04:23:57 AM »
Jesus loves us and invites us to follow God's word in our everyday lives. When we surrender fully to Him, He imputes His righteousness to us, cleansing our past record of sin, and imparts His righteousness to us, empowering us through the Holy Spirit to obey God from a heart overflowing with love. May we live out the life of love Christ invites us to experience remembering that all His biddings are enablings!

"'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.' In these words Christ again condemns the abuse of sacred obligation. The obligation itself He does not set aside. The tithing system was ordained by God, and it had been observed from the earliest times. Abraham, the father of the faithful, paid tithes of all that he possessed. The Jewish rulers recognized the obligation of tithing, and this was right; but they did not leave the people to carry out their own convictions of duty. Arbitrary rules were laid down for every case. The requirements had become so complicated that it was impossible for them to be fulfilled. None knew when their obligations were met. As God gave it, the system was just and reasonable; but the priests and rabbis had made it a wearisome burden." {The Desire of Ages, page 616, paragraph 3}

God does not call us to a complicated, wearisome experience. He gives us clear and beautiful truth so each of us can follow God according to the convictions the Holy Spirit has brought to us from God's word. Let us praise God that Jesus loved the people enough in His day to rebuke sin and unmask the deceptions that were making it hard to be saved. Let us ask that Jesus will teach us our duty, which we delight to fulfill when He abides in our hearts by faith, shedding forth the light of a cheerful piety evinced by all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing! Praise God for all Jesus is to us! 
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2018, 10:17:36 PM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. When we surrender all to Christ, we have love, peace, and joy. So many have been led astray and think they have salvation without a living Savior in their hearts. They do not have love, joy, and peace. Satan works hard to keep the church ignorant of what it means to have a living connection with Christ. He did this with Israel and so he does it today.

 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," said Jesus; "for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." By perverting the Scriptures, the priests and lawyers blinded the minds of those who would otherwise have received a knowledge of Christ's kingdom, and that inward, divine life which is essential to true holiness.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2018, 02:57:36 AM »
Jesus desires our hearts; all of the heart must be yielded to Him or there can be no real change in the character. Christ exposed the vain hypocrisy of the religious leaders of His time that we, for all time, might not be misled by a self-seeking religion that does not regenerate the heart. Only Christ can change the heart, but our will must be yielded to Him, a full surrender must be made, in order for us to become partakers of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The traditions of the religious leaders must be exposed in contrast to the simple, enduring truth of the word of God calling to self-sacrifice as exemplified in the humble offering of the poor widow.

"The gems of truth that fell from Christ's lips on that eventful day were treasured in many hearts. For them new thoughts started into life, new aspirations were awakened, and a new history began. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, these persons came to the front, and fulfilled their divine commission with a wisdom and zeal corresponding to the greatness of the work. They bore a message that appealed to the hearts of men, weakening the old superstitions that had long dwarfed the lives of thousands. Before their testimony human theories and philosophies became as idle fables. Mighty were the results flowing from the words of the Saviour to that wondering, awestruck crowd in the temple at Jerusalem." {The Desire of Ages, page 620, paragraph 3}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--67--Woes on the Pharisees
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2018, 07:44:37 AM »
"Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin; but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession." 

This is not a spirit that we possess in ourselves. This comes completely from God. It is a powerful witness to what happens in our lives when the Holy Spirit is in control.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14